Dr. Marina Kang
So one of the key that I find as a general practitioner is to help a patient to accumulate that information, to find out things that are relevant for them individually, and to be able to be basically the primary in their treatment profile. To be able to access all the different team members, healthcare professionals that they need and to help negotiate the best treatment that they can have so that their lifestyle is not impacted or minimally impacted by the condition itself.
So I would see the team being a bit flexible. You obviously as a patient are part of that team at all times. The family doctor is usually going to be someone who is there on a consistent basis. A rheumatologist for a lot of inflammatory diseases will be your key medical speciality but then the others will move in and out as needed.
Accredited Practising Dietitian and Sports Dietitian
Not everybody with arthritis will need to see a dietitian. I guess the people who I most commonly see with arthritis are those people who were perhaps above their healthy weight range; where I can help them get to a healthy weight and in that way reduce the pain and the pressure on their joints.
So they will be referred to me for most frequently people having difficulty with their hands. There will be different parts of their hands that are affected but it’s still their hand. So what I do with them will depend on where their disability is or where the arthritis is affecting them and how it’s affecting them.
As a physiotherapist my role is usually maintaining the same function, trying to look at their joints and maintain strength and getting their activities back to normal.
Dr. Irwin Lim
Sometimes, particularly for patients where we are not very good at controlling the disease, emotion, feelings of anxiety, a reactive depression to having a chronic disease needs to be dealt with and this is where a good counsellor plays a very important role.
Consumer (rheumatoid arthritis)
For me over the years a clinical psychologist has also been a really critical part of that team. I think living with a disease like this is hard work and you’re often living with daily pain and that can be a really hard road to walk and I think the role of the psychologist can be really underplayed and undervalued and I would really encourage people to consider that as part of their healthcare management; that they look after their psychological wellbeing just as much as they do their physical wellbeing.